Introduction Increased involvement in the job market has added new responsibilities to traditional female roles, which are reflected in quality of life and health, but are manifested in a distinct fashion in this social segment. The present study assessed the health status and use of healthcare services of women between 20 and 59 years of age according to social strata based on level of schooling (< 9 and 9+ years of study).
Methods A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out with conglomerate sampling. Five hundred eight women were analysed from a home survey carried out in Campinas, SP, Brazil in 2008. Prevalence values were estimated and prevalence ratios were adjusted using Poisson regression and considering weights related to the sampling design.
Results Women with a lower level of schooling had a poorer quality of life and greater prevalence values for hypertension (PR=1.63), circulatory problems (PR=1.92), dizziness (PR=1.92), headaches (PR=1.77), common mental disorders (PR=2.16) and a worse self-assessment of health (PR=2.44). No differences between groups were found regarding medical appointments in the previous 2 weeks, hospitalisations and surgeries in the previous year, self and clinical breast exams, Papanicolaou test and vaccine for rubella. Significant differences were found in the percentage of dental appointments and mammograms.
Conclusion Social inequalities were found in the prevalence of health problems, but no inequalities were found regarding various indicators of the use of healthcare services, which must be the fruit of the adequate structuring of the Brazilian public healthcare system in the city investigated.
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